It was definitely a birdy sort of day today and I will not divulge how much time I spent in the hide. I will say, however, that I logged 21 species while lurking. I decided that I probably would not get a nicer shot of a Common Grackle this year, so I'm going with this for my visual yardbird record, clocking in at #20.
In the plus column, I saw my first Gray Catbird of the year yesterday and it appears to be hanging out and staking out territory now. I love catbirds and feel my spirits lifting each spring when they arrive. I also got my first glimpse of the season of a handsome red-breasted grosbeak. He was too quick for me to get a shot, but hopefully a few more will stop along their route. I also saw, for the first time ever, a pair of Carolina Wrens pair feeding. I got several crappy shots and will put one in extra. The female is on the left and our own Lefty is feeding her.
In not such good news, I fear that something has happened to the female bluebird as I've not seen her for the last 3 days. The male comes around each morning and spends time checking the box and singing quite loudly, but no signs of his lady friend. Which means that either a competitor or a predator got her. I hope he finds a new mate - her job will be easy since the nest is 90% complete, only needing a bit of soft lining.
As is my usual, I listened to both governors. I was happy to learn that Murphy is reopening the state parks at sunup on Saturday. He does so, however, with a firm caveat that social distancing must be adhered to and masks strongly recommended. And if law enforcement officers report excessive abuse, the parks will be closed promptly. All parking lots will only have half capacity as a way to limit visitors. I hope it goes well as I'd like to be able to get out to a few of the local spots to catch some of the spring migration. We'll see.
New Jersey is still seeing a gradual downward slope to the curve, although nowhere near being out of the woods yet. Same in NYC. The number of deaths is still horrifying, with nearly 7,000 just in New Jersey. Flags continue to fly at half mast in both states.
Be safe. Stay home. Be kind.
Positive cases in NJ as of 1 PM today - 116,264
Deaths in NJ - 6,770
Positive cases in Sussex County - 900 - deaths 99